Bowlers and Openers power Pakistan to their maiden ICC Champions Trophy Final.

 

Pakistan cricket team are on a roll in this ICC Champions Trophy 2017, after losing their opening match against India their performance has been one of the best in this tournament.

After beating the number 1 ODI side South Africa they have continued the winning momentum against Sri Lanka as well. Now they have knock out the hosts, England of this tournament.

Again it was a brilliant bowling performance from Pakistan, that’s why skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bowl first.

England had made one change in their playing eleven. As expected Jason Roy was dropped and Johnny Bairstow came in as his replacement.

But this time Alex Hales didn’t respond well. After getting off to 34 in 5.4 overs, Hales was out to the debutant pacer Rumman Raees for just 13.

Johnny Bairstow and number 3 star Joe Root were there out in the middle.  Their partnership of 48 runs was going well and going strong. It was important that Bairstow and Root carried on this partnership. Unfortunately Hasan Ali, the man in form bowler from Pakistan picked up Bairstow for 43.

Skipper Eoin Morgan and Joe Root again stabilised another stand of 48 runs. This 48 run partnership was the highest in the England innings.

England fans expected this partnership should last long but it was Shadab Khan who ended this good run of Joe Root. This partnership was ended and Root was the top scorer for England like always, he was out for 46 runs.

Then the Pakistani bowlers were charged up, they kept bowling in good areas and continued picking up wickets.

Skipper Eoin Morgan too couldn’t last long, in spam of 3 overs after Root’s dismissal Morgan was perished just 33 runs.

Hard hitting wicket keeper batsman Jos Buttler too didn’t find a way to score runs. He was struggling with his partner Ben Stokes. Buttler’s struggle was ended by Junaid Khan for just 4.

Ben Stokes was the only hope for England. He continued to struggle with Moen Ali at the other end. England needed a big partnership to put a decent score on the board but Moen Ali’s horrible pull shot gave another wicket to Pakistan. Ali was caught brilliantly by Fakhar Zaman for only 11 runs.

Stokes continued in the meanwhile, England needed boundaries and sixes but Pakistan’s brilliance didn’t allow them to do so.

The last thing england wanted was run out, that too happened to it more miserable. Adil Rashid wanted Stokes on strike so Rashid sacrificed his wicket for just 7 runs.

After few over Ben Stokes was finally dismissed. He struggle ended with 34 runs of 64 balls.

Then Pakistan bowlers bowled out England in less than 50 overs.  England managed to put up a below par score of 211 in 49.5 overs.

Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers. He picked up 3 wickets for 35 runs. Bowlers like Junaid Khan and debutant Rumman Raees picked 2 wickets and Shadab Khan picked up 1 wicket.

Pakistani batsmen were under pressure before coming into this match, but things were different in this semi final match.

Chasing 211 for victory, Pakistani openers put up a great show.

Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali were on the mark facing the England quick bowlers. They had a steady opening stand in the first 10 overs.

Like always Azhar Ali off started slow and Fakhar Zaman took the responsibility to score quick runs. In this opening partnership Fakhar was again a aggressor, this explosive batsman was on the charge against the England bowlers.

The openers, Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali put their first hundred run stand in this Champions Trophy 2017.

Fakhar smashed his 2nd fifty in ODIs, his first 50 came against Sri Lanka few days ago and now he smashed 57 against England. Like the last match Fakhar couldn’t convert the start, he should be able to convert these 50s into 100s like all great batsmen.

England got their 1st breakthrough in form of Fakhar Zaman. Zaman was out after scoring 57 runs.

Then Azhar Ali turned the aggressor for Pakistan, he added another 55 runs for the 2nd wicket with Babar Azam.

Azhar Ali was going on well; he was looking for hundred but Jake Ball bolds him for his score of 76 runs

Then it was a matter of time for Pakistan to finish this game and reach the finals.

Babar Azam and Mohd Hafeez took Pakistan to a comfortable win. Pakistan won this game by 8 wickets and progressed to their maiden Champions Trophy final.

England bowlers were all over the place, like Sri Lanka they were also sloppy. For them only Jake Ball and Adil Rashid were amongst the wicket takers. They both took 1 wicket each.

Man of the match was awarded to Hasan Ali for his great bowling figures 3 wickets for 35 runs.

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